ANCHORAGE, Alaska - July 31, 2007 - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) raided the home of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) yesterday, advancing the corruption probe that has ensnared the once-untouchable GOP dean.
The Anchorage Daily News first reported the search of Stevens’s Girdwood, Alaska, residence on yesterday afternoon, citing the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s local office.
That home has fueled the investigation into Stevens’ ties to oil-field services company Veco, whose two top executives recently resigned after pleading guilty to bribery and fraud.
Bill Allen, Veco’s former CEO, is a longtime friend and business partner of Stevens, and investigators are examining Allen’s involvement in a 2000 renovation of the senior Republican appropriator’s house. The construction project added a story to the building, and contractors have reportedly testified before a grand jury that Allen and Veco received the bills for their work.
Stevens has denied any appearance of impropriety in the home renovation, stating specifically earlier this month that every bill he and his wife received was paid with their personal money, “and that’s all there is to it.” The famously combative senator has acknowledged that the federal probe may complicate his reelection effort next year - a concept still almost unthinkable to many in Alaska, where Stevens’ talent for securing federal dollars has made him a legend.
In a statement released by his office Monday, Stevens said his attorneys were notified of the search Monday morning. He vowed to continue providing for his state as normal while the investigation proceeds.
“I continue to believe this investigation should proceed to its conclusion without any appearance that I have attempted to influence its outcome. I will continue my policy of not commenting on this investigation until it has concluded,” Stevens said.
He added, “I urge Alaskans not to form conclusions based upon incomplete and sometimes incorrect reports in the media. The legal process should be allowed to proceed so that all the facts can be established and the truth determined.”
The Anchorage FBI office did not return a request for comment late yesterday. Two House Republicans, Rick Renzi (Ariz.) and John Doolittle (Calif.), have experienced home raids by federal authorities this year, but a raid on Stevens’ residence marks a significant intrusion of congressional corruption scandals into the more clubby Senate.
Stevens’ financial disclosure form for last year, which he requested that the ethics committee review before submission, is still under wraps after the senator requested a second deadline extension.